Arbitration in Employment Law Cases FAQs
Many employment contracts include an arbitration clause, where employees agree to settle disputes with their employer via a private arbitrator instead of in court. When people hear the word ‘arbitration’ they, understandably, are not always sure what that means. Employees are also sometimes left wondering if they have any rights to still bring a civil lawsuit when arbitration fails or is inappropriate. Orange County employment law attorneys at the Serendib Law Firm can help you determine whether your work claim is subject to arbitration as well as represent you in your case. Here is a list of frequently asked questions our lawyers receive regarding arbitration in employment law cases.
- What Is Arbitration?
- Does Arbitration Need to Be Agreed to by Both Parties?
- How Is Arbitration Different Than a Civil Lawsuit Proceeding?
- Can All Kinds of Claims Be Subject to Arbitration Instead of a Lawsuit?
- Do I Have to Sign an Arbitration Agreement My Employer Gives Me?
- How Do I Know If an Arbitration Agreement Is Enforceable?
- Can I Appeal the Results of an Arbitration?
- Can Courts Vacate Awards Given in Arbitration?
Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution that is straightforward than civil litigation. Arbitration enlists a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, to decide the case at hand, outside of court. Often an arbitrator is a retired judge, lawyer or another individual with appropriate experience and credentials.
Yes. In California, arbitration agreements are required to be:
- Entered into without fraud or duress, and
- Supported by consideration.
Consideration is anything tangible and of value, including promotions, bonuses, or other monetary compensation. If you think you’ve been subject to an unfair or invalid arbitration agreement, the employment lawyers at Serendib Law Firm in Orange County can help you assert your legal rights.
Procedurally, arbitration and trial can look similar, as both parties may obtain legal representation and call witnesses in both. However, the right of the parties to obtain documents is wider in trial proceedings versus arbitration. This can give employers an unfair advantage in these situations, as the companies often have greater access to such documentation than do employees.
If a valid arbitration agreement exists, disputes regarding employment discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour violations, and sexual harassment all might be subject to mandatory arbitration. However, recent California laws have changed how arbitration clauses are treated.
As of 2020, job applicants and employees in California cannot be required to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of being hired or retained as employees. However, if an employee has signed an enforceable agreement prior to January 1, 2020, they are bound to submit to arbitration proceedings. The law is everchanging when it comes to arbitration requirements, so consulting a seasoned Orange County employment law attorney is important to knowing your legal options.
Generally, a California arbitration agreement is enforceable if: it allows for all types of relief that would be available in court; allows for more than minimal discovery; calls for a neutral arbitrator; the arbitration yields a written decision; and employees do not bear unreasonable fees or costs as a condition of the agreement.
In most cases, arbitration agreements are final and binding, i.e. not able to be appealed. Although, some arbitration clauses can give a court (or another arbitrator) the right to review an award on either the merits or law.
In California, the court allows arbitration awards to be vacated if it was secured by corruption, fraud, or undue means. Additionally, awards can be vacated if it is found that an arbitrator exceeded their powers.
If you have additional questions regarding an arbitration clause or proceedings, contact the employment law attorneys at the Serendib Law Firm today. We represent Orange County workers, as well as those facing employment issues throughout Southern California including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Please call our office at 1-800-LAW-8225 (800-529-8825) or contact us online.